Former Powell City Council member and Liberty Township Trustee Peggy Guzzo hasn't held public office since 2009, but that hasn't stopped her from getting involved in community issues.
Guzzo said to ensure all the time she's spent researching issues and attending meetings is put to good use, she's running to fill one of two open spots on the Liberty Township board of trustees. She'll face candidates Shyra Eichhorn, John Hartman, Vincent Margello Jr. and Tom Mitchell on the November ballot. Incumbents Curt Sybert and Mary Carducci chose not to campaign for their seats.
"It's easy to say we need responsible development or a common-sense approach, but we also need someone with experience, someone we can trust, who understands the challenges facing Liberty Township, who has a proven track record and is going to take a stand on the issues and fight for our community -- and that's me," she said.
Guzzo said the township has a rough road ahead, with bumps that include ongoing tension with the city of Powell and the fire department's budget.
Because she has served on both council and the board of trustees, Guzzo said she understands both sides of the city-township dynamic and will continue initiatives to create a positive dialogue between the two municipalities that she put in place when she originally held office.
"There is a lot of talk, but no real leadership in bringing the two sides together in a public meeting," she said, pointing out that she wouldn't even bother revising the Cooperative Economic Development Agreement, which lays out development and annexation rules.
Both sides have been trying to rework the agreement since 2008, when the city accused Liberty Township of violating it because Guzzo, then a trustee, allegedly helped Powell residents distribute a resident-led petition to change Powell's zoning code regulating the square footage of commercial buildings.
"We need to not compete with Powell, but rather work with them on common goals," she added, saying those goals could include bike paths and the Sawmill Parkway Beautification plan.
Guzzo said if she is elected Nov. 5, she'll work to implement an annual joint meeting between City Council and township trustees.
To balance the fire budget, Guzzo said she would continue the push the current trustees have made to receive a higher reimbursement amount from the county EMS fund, but she'd also explore the possibility of soft billing.
She said if the department implemented soft billing, it would send ambulance transportation bills to insurance companies, but never individuals. Because many insurance policies will cover the service beginning in 2014 because of the Affordable Care Act, Guzzo said it wouldn't have any negative financial effects on residents or visitors.
"We are home to the nationally acclaimed Columbus Zoo that attracts hundreds of thousands of nonresident visitors each year who do not pay taxes for the EMS services," she said. "Soft billing would allow us to recoup some of the cost without negatively affecting the zoo."
An attorney at her own firm, Guzzo is a member of the Columbus Bar Association, Ohio State Bar Association and the Ohio Mediation Association. She also serves on the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, the Juvenile Law Committee and the board for the Delaware County Common Ground Free Store.
Guzzo, 48, and her husband, Vince, have lived in the township or in Powell for 17 years. They have two children; one attends Liberty High School and the other is a student at Miami University.
Guzzo also was on the Liberty Township ballot in 2011 when she ran against incumbent Mark Gerber for the position of fiscal officer.
For more information on Guzzo's campaign, visit the website: GuzzoForOffice.com.